The Astros announced that three players will be sent to Minor League camp prior to Friday's game. Those players are OF Domingo Santana, LHP Luis Cruz and C Luis Flores. Santana and Cruz were optioned, and Flores was reassigned (as a selection in the AAA phase of the Rule 5 draft).
With a crowded ML outfield picture, Santana was going to have to jump out of the gate to remain in camp. However, his struggles with contact continued in Kissimmee, with Domingo failing to record a hit in 10 plate appearances while striking out 6 times. He managed to record an RBI, but also grounded into a double play. This has to be considered disappointing for Santana, however, as he certainly has the talent and tools to hit his way onto a roster during a Spring Training, but hasn't managed to show much in his top-level action.
Undersized lefty Luis Cruz performed well in limited action in camp. He threw 3.2 innings with 2 walks and 4 strikeouts, giving up one run in the process. But because of competition for the back end of the rotation, and competition between the lefty relievers in the 'pen - both of which are potential landing-spots - Cruz was a good candidate to exit camp early. He will most likely start at Fresno.
Flores - previously out of the Cubs system - had one at-bat this spring, and was never a realistic chance of making the Astros opening day roster without some kind of dramatic mass-injury incident, perhaps involving a bus. He looks destined to share the tools of ignorance with Max Stassi at Fresno.
With a bunch of hot starts to this spring training - like bubble-players Grossman, Singleton, Valbuena and Marisnick - there are going to be some fascinating story-lines emerging over the next three weeks. The Astros now have 57 players left in camp to sort through prior to the final 25 taking the field on April 6.